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Conventioneers (Unrated)





Release Date: October 20th, 2006 (Village East Cinemas) by Cinema Libre Studio.
The Cast: Matthew Mabe, Woodwyn Koons, Alek Friedman, Robert O'Gorman.
Directed by Mora Stephens.

BASIC PREMISE: During the 2004 Republican National Convention, David (Mabe), a republican, and his college friend, Lea (Koons), a democrat, form a romance.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Inspired by 1969’s Medium Cool, Conventioneers combines real footage from the 2004 Republican National Convention with a provocative although contrived narrative story. A few days before the convention, Dave, a Republican activist, calls up his old college pal, Lea, when he arrives in New York. Little does he know that she’s actually a Democrat until they meet at a café and get into a political argument. Before the heated argument that ends with Lea storming out of the cafe, she admits that she had a crush on him back in their college days. To complicate matters, Dave has a wife back in Washington, D.C. and Lea has a boyfriend. Soon enough, they try to put their differences aside and have an affair. The screenplay by Mora Stephens and Joel Viertel skips a first act which could have helpfully shown Lea and David with their respective lovers. Their untimely romance occurs a bit too suddenly and both of them come across as bland, unappealing characters. Moreover, Stephens and Viert make them immature and arrogant which makes it even harder to root for them.. Even one of Lea’s friends, Dylan (Friedman), acts childishly toward his wife when he conceals a t-shirt with a peace sign on it to protest Bush during the convention—oh, and he happens to be selected as Bush’s interpreter for the deaf. Matthew Mabe and Woodwen Koons give believable performances which occasionally enhance the film’s realism until the plot gets more contrived, especially in the bitter, lazy third act.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: None, other than the naďve, over-simplified, bitter assumption that Democrats and Republicans don’t really get along together as if they’re from entirely different planets. Can't people be entitled to their own opinions without being unfairly judged?

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Occasionally contrived and bland.

NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 3

IN A NUTSHELL: Well-acted and provocative, but ultimately contrived and bland.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD


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